Ben and the Sudden Too-Big Family

Colby Rodowsky

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Ben's philosophy of life is that there are two categories of things that happen, the all-right stuff and the not-all-right stuff. Ben has always lived with just his dad, Mitch, which definitely falls into the all-right category. When Mitch meets Casey and they decide to get married, that turns out to be all right, too. Then Mitch and Casey decide to adopt a baby from China, and Ben isn't sure which category the whole baby thing is going to fit into. After the baby comes home (it's all right), Casey and Mitch announce that the four of them - as a family - are going on vacation with Casey's family. All twenty-three of them! Ben is sure this will not be all right!
How eleven-year-old Ben finds his place in a crazy-big family makes this a funny novel about family and what it means to be a part of one.


Read an Excerpt

Fifteen Words or Less

It was in the just-after-the-holiday-break part of fourth grade when Mr. Kelly, our English teacher, told us to write our philosophy of life in fifteen words or less. I thought for a minute and then wrote, "Some things in life are all right and some things are not all right." After that, I sat curling and uncurling the edge of my paper and wondering what I should have done with the extra word.

When everyone was finished, Mr. K. folded his arms, harrumphed a bit, the way he always does, and said, "Now elaborate on what you’ve written."

This led me



Praise for Ben and the Sudden Too-Big Family

"Rodowsky is in good form, crafting another book with a likable narrator."--School Library Journal
"Veteran author Rodowsky again demonstrates her skill at bringing a low-key approach to possibly melodramatic events."  --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Appealing." --Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Colby Rodowsky

  • COLBY RODOWSKY is the author of many distinguished books for children and young adults, such as That Fernhill Summer, which The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books praised as a "character-driven novel about the complicated connections of family." She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.


Available Formats and Book Details

Ben and the Sudden Too-Big Family

Colby Rodowsky

Children's Crown Collection, NCSA
  • e-Book